Hepburn coach Gary Cooke knew an A-grade semi final against top four Buninyong would come down to a battle in the midcourt.
After scraping into the Central Highlands Football League top eight thanks to a draw with undefeated Learmonth, the Burras escaped elimination last week against Dunnstown before backing up on Saturday with a 10-goal victory over the Bombers.
Cooke said with a nothing-to-lose attitude, every player gave their all for the entirety of the game.
Hepburn not only withstood the Bombers’ pressure on the Buninyong courts, but applied pressure of its own.
While Cooke said it was too difficult to select stand out performances, he was impressed with the way Hepburn was able to challenge and get on top of the Bombers’ strong midcourt.
“We matched Buninyong in goals and in defence, but I knew the midcourt was going to be where the battle was because Buninyong’s mid court is so good,” he said.
“Our youngest players are in the midcourt and they really just stood up to the pressure, they just didn’t seem to be fazed or rattled by it.”
Despite a 10-goal winning margin, Cooke said the end result was not reflective of the game, which was for the most part goal for goal.
“In the last few minutes of the third quarter, I just felt like we were starting to get a little bit of control of the game,” Cooke said.
“It was one of those games where somebody was going to crack at some stage and luckily we put enough pressure on… it was a really highly-skilled game, our toughest match of the year.”
He said the key to winning the game had come down to staying composed under pressure, keeping possession of the ball, being able to score from centre passes and capitalising on turnovers.
“It has really been the last four weeks where we have started to get that momentum going… every victory has given them that little more confidence that they can do it,” Cooke said of his players.
“We knew at the start of the season we had the players there, but we had a new team and it has probably just taken a while to get the structures on court working.”
Demons secure spot in preliminary final
Bungaree has locked in a preliminary final showdown with the top team Learmonth in Central Highlands Netball League A-grade competition.
The second-placed Demons managed to hold on to a winning lead in a semi final nail-biter against Waubra on Sunday in Creswick.
Only four goals separated the teams when the game ended, following an inspired second half comeback from the Kangaroos that fell short.
The Demons proved just too strong and were on top at the right time with the final score, 45-41.
While the result did not fall its way, Waubra has had an impressive season overall and improved on last year when it crept into finals only to exit in the first week.
Bungaree has sat in the top three for most of the season with only the one loss.
However that loss came at the hands of next week’s opponent, the Lakies.
While Learmonth drew with Hepburn in the final round, it has not dropped any other games and was comprehensive in its defeat of Buninyong last week.
PRELIMINARY FINAL (at Buninyong)
A GRADE: Learmonth v Bungaree
B GRADE: Bungaree v Springbank
C GRADE: Hepburn v Bungaree
17/UNDER: Bungaree v Learmonth
15/UNDER: Buninyong v Springbank
13/UNDER: Buninyong v Hepburn
PRELIMINARY FINAL (at Learmonth)
A GRADE: Springbank v Hepburn
B GRADE: Learmonth v Hepburn
C GRADE: Learmonth v Springbank
17/UNDER: Hepburn v Buninyong
15/UNDER: Bungaree v Daylesford
13/UNDER: Carngham-Linton v Springbank